By Joshua Farnsworth

William Brown is a renowned high-end furniture maker and wood carver who builds 18th-Century style furniture in his basement workshop in rural Forest, Virginia. In the video above you’ll see a tour of William’s workshop, and below you’ll see a gallery of William’s stunning furniture that he has photographed over the years. But first, here is a mini bio about William:

William Brown using a molding plane for furniture making

About Wm. Brown, Furniture Maker & Wood Carver

Wood carver William Brown carving a Bellamy Eagle

William grew up on a farm in Chester County, Pennsylvania, where he apprenticed in the workshop of E. Townsend Moore. During this time he gained a love of fine Pennsylvania-made furniture from the 18th century.

Wood stringing inlay in William Brown's workshop

William’s career path took him into the medical field, where he became a successful anesthesiologist, but all the time he continued to build high-end furniture to sell to clients and to beautify his own homes. As of 2019, William has been building furniture for 40 years, which is obvious in the details of his immaculate furniture.

Wood carver William Brown carving a Bellamy Eagle

William’s furniture has won multiple awards, has been featured in prominent publications, and his reproduction pieces have been sent to high-end galleries, and to heritage sites like James Madison’s Montpelier and the Jamestown settlement. William has especially become well-known as a leading authority on reproducing carved & gold-leafed “Bellamy Eagles”, made famous by 19th century wood carver, Edward Halley Bellamy, from Kittery, Maine.

William does make exact replicas of furniture, when requested by museums or clients, but most of his work uses historical furniture for inspiration, and then he adds his own creative touches and experimentation. He does extensive research and design work before making each meticulous furniture piece. What I loved was seeing his filing cabinet where he kept a file folder for each piece of furniture that he builds, including sketches on scratch paper!

At one point in time William extensively built Windsor chairs for clients, including replicas of a couple of James & Molly Madison’s chairs for the museum at their Montpelier home.

William uses a mix of hand tools and power tools when building his furniture. He hanplanes & scrapes furniture surfaces, and cuts dovetails and mortise & tenon joints by hand. Most of his furniture is finished with natural oils and shellac, with hand rubbed wax to top them off.

William has lived and built furniture at various places around the world, but has finally settled into his comfortable basement workshop just outside of Lynchburg, Virginia.

William Brown's woodworking workshop with wood carving tools and bellamy eagle being carved

Now let’s got to the furniture! Some of the below furniture is for sale, so contact William directly if you’re interested:

small pointing finger

Chester County, PA spice box

Ca. 1770

  • Chippendale style
  • Tiger maple
  • Dimensions: 16.75″ wide, 10.5″ deep, 20.5″ tall
  • 4 Secret compartments

Chippendale Mirror in Crotch Walnut

Ca. 1775- 1810

  • Various mirrors made in striking highly figured woods: Tiger maple, curly makore and mahogany, & crotch walnut veneers.
  • Carved corners
  • Traditional shellac finish rubbed to a satin sheen
  • Dimensions: 27.5″ tall, 16″ wide

Sheraton Walnut Tea Caddy

Sheraton Period – early 1800’s

  • Figured Walnut primary wood
  • Shell patterae inlays
  • Rope edging
  • Shop-made inlay and bandings
  • Two dovetailed tiger maple tea boxes with intricate inlay, tin lining, and ebony edging
  • Ogee bracket style feet
  • Working lockset and 2 keys
  • Lion ring pulls, hand forged in England
  • Special orders accepted
  • Featured in Early American Life Magazine – 2018

William & Mary Walnut Spice Box on Frame

Ca. 1730-40

  • This spice box was featured in Fine Woodworking magazine
  • William & Mary period, Walnut
  • 8 coats of rubbed shellac finish
  • Line & Berry inlay – holly and red cedar
  • Maple burl drawer fronts
  • 5 secret compartments
  • Ebonised legs
  • Fine cockbeaded drawer & apron moldings
  • Hardware hand forged in England
  • Featured in the Nov. 2015 issue of Popular    Woodworking (Editor’s Choice Award)
  • Dimensions:  36″ tall, 18″ wide, 10 1/4″ deep
  • Winner 2016 Popular Woodworking Magazine Editor’s Choice Award

Carved & Gilded Bellamy Eagles

Ca. 1860-1910

  • Based on John Halley Bellamy’s famous eagles carved in Kittery, Maine and Portsmouth, NH
  • Originals sell at auction for $500,000-600,000!
  • ​Finish options: Unfinished, Genuine 24k Gold-leaf, antiqued gold leaf, antique stain

Southern Sugar Chest in Curly Maple:

Ca. 1810

  • Curly maple
  • Ebony and walnut inlay
  • Wrought hinges
  • Removable partition
  • Dimensions:  31″ wide, 13″ deep, 32″ tall

Chippendale spice chest on frame with secret compartments

Ca. 1750

  • 42.5″ high, 21″ wide,  19.5 deep
  • This is a unique piece I designed using Chippendale features, such as Philadelphia style ball & claw feet, shell carvings, and cabriole legs.    The base is similar to an ornate Philadelphia Chippendale stool or chair.
  • The frame and panel door has a lunette panel that is rarely seen in the originals.
  • Curly cherry drawer fronts.
  • William and Mary hardware hand forged in England.
  •  All my spice boxes feature secret hiding places, but there are 14 secret compartments in this piece!  A few are pictured here; I dare my customers to find them.
  • 14 visible drawers plus 14 more hidden drawers.
  • This piece took 6 months to build.

Federal Game Table

  • This table won the “The International Veneer Challenge” last year, and will be displayed in the Messler Gallery in Rockport, Maine in January, 2020.
  • Folding leaves
  • Continuous wrap-around cross bandings of Curly maple & Macassar Ebony
  • Inlay is hand-made by myself
  • 4-way book matched burl walnut leaves
  • Holly stringing on legs and case
  • Cuff banded, ebonized feet
  • Cock-beaded drawer with walnut burl front
  • ​Felt lined drawer
  • Sheraton pulls
  • 27 inches tall, 18 inches deep, 36 inches wide with leaves open (18 inches if closed)

  • Each leaf features four-way book-matched burl walnut with tiger maple wrap-around cross-banding
  • ​Macassar Ebony and Tiger Maple cross-banding wraps around 3 sides continuously
  • ​Supports slide out as needed. They are designed so that the inlay on the sides can be seen​

Alston Hall Serpentine Chest

Ca. 1777

  • Serpentine drawers
  • Based on a piece at Alston hall, Birmingham, England
  • Figured walnut
  • Drawer fronts crotch walnut
  • Ebony cock-beaded drawers
  • Block ogee feet
  • Londonderry brasses hand forged
  • Chippendale style
  • rubbed shellac & wax finish
  • 33 1/2″ high, 42″ top at widest, 22″ deep
  • 6 months to build

Chippendale Pie Crust Tilting Top Tea Table

Ca. 1777

  • Flame Mahogany
  • Based on a piece in the Wintertur Museum, Wilmington, Delaware
  • ‘Pie-crust’ top tilts and rotates
  • Dimensions: top 26″ diameter, 28 ” tall (40.5″ tall with top tilted up)

Curly Cherry Federal Side Table:

  • Curly and crotch Cherry
  • Inlays: Holly, Sycamore, Satinwood, Ebony, Pear, Zebrawood, Macassar Ebony
  • Cuff bandings
  • ​Cock-beaded drawers

Curly Maple Federal End Table

Ca. 1810

  • A delicate stand in the Sheraton style with two drawers. The table stands on four legs turned to a delicate taper
  • Sheraton-style knob
  • Mortise-and-tenon construction throughout with finely dovetailed drawers
  • Shown in figured maple but also available in mahogany or cherry
  • Cock-beaded drawers

Curly Maple Line and Berry Inlay Humidor :

(Description coming soon)

  • Tiger maple
  • Chester County, Pennsylvania Line and Berry inlay
  • Spanish Cedar lining
  • Whisper-seal fitted lid
  • Humidifier and hygrometer
  • Removable partition
  • Dimensions: 17.5″wide, 10.75″ deep, 8.5″ tall

Federal Drop Leaf Pembroke Table

Ca. 1820

  • Crotch Mahogany inlaid veneer top
  • Turned legs
  • ​Heavy inlay – satinwood, ebony, holly, paduak, bird’s eye maple, purplewood
  • Folding leaves
  • Walnut, with turned & fluted Sheraton legs, sculpted drop-leaf Pembroke style top.
  • Crotch mahogany veneer.
  • Cross-banded satinwood drawer front & lots of inlay.

Federal Side Table in Walnut:

  • Walnut: crotch and burl
  • Inlay: Holly, Paduak, Pear, Cedar, Ebony, curly maple
  • Curly maple, cock-beaded drawers

Above is the walnut and ebony veneer cuff-banded spade foot.

Southern Curly Maple Huntboard:

  • Similar examples of this large sideboard or buffet can be found around my childhood home in Chester County, PA.
  • Stunning tiger maple figure
  • Dimensions: 60″ (5 feet) long, 18″ deep, 39″ tall

Kentucky Bedside Table w/ Line & Berry Inlay:

Ca. 1810

  • Holly & Cedar Line-and-Berry inlay
  • Federal hardware from Ball & Ball
  • Cock beaded drawer fronts
  • Dimensions: 28 3/8″ Tall, 9.5″ wide, 15.5″ deep

Newport Tea Table:

Nottingham Spice Box with Secret Compartments

Ca. 1750

  • Chester county, Pennsylvania
  • Based on a piece made in Nottingham township
  • ​Curly cherry
  • ​Extensive line-and-berry inlay
  • All local chester co. woods: holly, cedar, osage orange, walnut
  • Ogee feet
  • 3 secret compartments
  • Top 18″ x 11″, 11″ deep, 22′ tall

Tree of Life Keeping chests in maple and walnut w/ turned feet

  • Inlaid Shaker Pattern
  • Modern design
  • Historically inspired
  • Bird’s-Eye Maple w/ Ebony inlay or Walnut w/ Holly inlay
  • Felt-lined sliding partitions or inner tray
  • William & Mary inlaid ball feet
  • 20″ wide, 8″ tall, 8″ deep

Fretwork for an insert tray of one of the Tree of Life Keeping Chests:

Tiger Maple Two-Drawer Curved Front Bedside Table:

  • Heavily figured Curly Maple
  • Cock-beaded drawers
  • Curved drawer fronts
  • Turned legs
  • Pair of matching tables

Monogrammed Bible Box with Line & Berry Inlay

Ca. 1745

  • Chester County style Bible Box, ca. 1760
  • Personalized with monograms for anniversary
  • Curly cherry
  • Line and Berry inlay – holly, red cedar, walnut
  • Wrought strap hinges
  • Winner of Nov. 2105 ‘Popular Woodworking Magazine’ “Reader’s Choice Award”
  • Dimensions: 14.5 ” wide, 10″ deep, 8″ high​​
  • Monogramming optional

Chester County, PA William & Mary Spice Box:

Ca. 1740

  • Curly Cherry
  • Holly and cedar ‘line-and-berry’ inlay
  • Blacksmith hand forged rat-tail hinges
  • Tombstone arched frame and panel door
  • Multiple secret compartments
  • Ball feet
  • Antique original sold at auction for $115,000
  • Dimensions:  17″ wide, 10.5″ deep, 20.5″ tall

Federal Coffee Table:

Ca. 1880

  • Curly Cherry
  • Hand-made inlay designs
  • Anigre, Pear, Sycamore, Holly, Cedar, Curly maple & Walnut inlays
  • ​Reeded legs in Sheraton style
  • French polished Shellac finish
  • Dimensions: 49 x 26 x 17.5 inches

Windsor Chair Reproduction for James Madison’s Montpelier:

The antique Windsor chair on the right belonged to the fourth president of the United states, James Madison. Bill was commissioned, by Montpelier, to build a reproduction piece, which is shown on the left. He was also commissioned to reproduce another of James Madison’s chairs.

Sheraton Cherry Tea Caddy:

Sheraton Period – early 1800’s

  • Inlay: curly maple, ebony, holly, kingwood, pear, many others
  • Curly cherry primary wood.
  • My own design utilizing period motifs. Unique striped cove on inner boxes
  • 12 different woods for the home-made bandings and inlays
  • Traditional tin-lined inner boxes for tea leaf preservation
  • Rope banded edging of Holly and Peruvian Walnut

Queen Anne Lowboy

Ca. 1765

Queen Anne Lowboy made by William Brown

  • Queen Anne period, Chester County, PA
  • Walnut; poplar secondary
  • Hand  cut dovetail, mortise-and-tenon construction
  • Carved fan on drawer front
  • Carved shells on cabriole leg knees
  • Trifid feet
  • Acorn finials
  • Londonderry brasses  forged in England

Please leave comments at the bottom of this article to let William know what you think!

SUBSCRIBE